With 2007 marking 50 years of the community college system in Ontario, golden anniversary celebrations are underway at Conestoga, which include commemorative events, displays of historical memorabilia and celebratory activities.
Conestoga, along with some help from Conestoga Students Inc., is planning events, and the province is getting in on it as well.
The following is a list of commemorative events, displays, websites and publications:
* The province’s anniversary campaign features an archival website with photos, alumni videos and amazing facts about colleges and graduates. It can be found at www.amazing50.ca.
* In the spring the province declared April 3 to 9 as Colleges Week and announced a new $50-million investment in honour of the 50th anniversary. Each of Ontario’s 24 publicly assisted colleges will get a portion of the money to enhance the student experience (see story below on what Conestoga is doing with its share of the pot).
* Conestoga’s 50th anniversary website features stories, a photo gallery and engagement with alumni and stakeholders. https://50.conestogac.on.ca/
* View an anniversary scrapbook on Conestoga College’s Facebook page. Photos and memories submitted by alumni and stakeholders as well as college archives will continued to be added throughout the year.
* The college’s Library Resource Centre (LRC) is featuring a series of displays of historical materials and artifacts. The first, which was in the spring, was themed around the history of computing at the college and included Conestoga’s very first computer – a PDP-12.
This fall the LRC will honour Conestoga’s nursing program and its impact on health care locally, regionally and worldwide.
A third display will be on campus development from 1967-2017.
* This fall the college will launch a Tranforming Together fundraising campaign in the hopes of raising $25 million to be put toward the renovation of the Waterloo campus, which will see it double in size.
The total price of the makeover is estimated at $43.5 million. The federal government is providing $14 million for the project while the Ontario government is giving $1.8 million for new furniture and technology.
The campaign will reach out to the community and alumni.
The revitalization will include a unique Culinary and Hospitality Institute with increased capacity for education and training programs to serve the tourism sector’s urgent human resource needs.
There will be new opportunities for product development and testing, new experiential learning opportunities for students, new demonstration kitchens, a research kitchen, and part-time and short courses for the broader community.
Bloom, the student-run restaurant that is open to the public, will be expanded and receive a more visible presence.
The Waterloo campus’s Centre for Advanced Learning will expand programming in information and digital technologies and management excellence, and provide opportunities for youth to augment existing education through career-focused experiential learning.
And an Access Hub will deliver centralized services to support student success and retention.
The renovation is expected to be completed within two years.
More information can be found on the campaign’s website – https://transforming-together.conestogac.on.ca/
* On Sept. 19 a revised Community Impact Report will be discussed at a launch event for business and community leaders. The initial report, completed by Larry Smith, measured the impact of Conestoga and its graduates on the prosperity and economic growth of the community.
An animated community impact video developed by Memory Tree will also be released at the meeting.
* A commemorative magazine, entitled Conestoga: 50 Years of Building Communities and Careers, is being published by the college in partnership with the Waterloo Region Record. It focuses on the college’s history, growth, impact and future.
* On Oct. 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. a bus featuring an interactive museum will roll onto campus, one of the stops on the province’s bus tour that will be going to all Ontario colleges. Conestoga and Conestoga Students Inc. will partner to hold a barbecue on the same day, which will feature activities, speakers and the selling of 50th anniversary merchandise.